Chordates •

Malayan porcupine

(Hystrix brachyura)



The Malayan porcupine or Himalayan porcupine (Hystrix brachyura) is a species of rodent in the family Hystricidae. Three subspecies are extant in South and Southeast Asia. Malayan porcupines are terrestrial and usually to be found in small groups in various types of forest habitats, as well as open areas near forests: they may also stray into nearby agricultural areas. They often inhabit dens they have found near rocky areas or in the holes of trees or root systems. They may also dig out and live in burrows, from which a network of trails penetrate into surrounding habitat. They can be found in all forest types up to 1500 m altitude. Female porcupines have a gestation period of 110 days and a litter size of two or three. The species may give birth to two litters annually. It is a large and stout-bodied rodent covered with quills which are sharp, rigid structures. The quills are modified hair. Those on their upper body parts are rough with black with white or yellow stripes. The young's soft quills become hard as they enter adulthood. They have short, stocky legs covered in brown hairs which have four claws on the front and five on the hind legs. Both front and hind legs have smooth soles. The head and body measurement are around 63-72.5 cm and the tail is about 6–11 cm. They weigh around 0.7 kg-2.4 kg. They normally feed on roots, tubers, bark and fallen fruits. They also eat carrion, insects, and large tropical seeds such as belonging to Chisocheton cumingianus. H. brachyura forages at night and rests during the day. It may be found singly or in pairs. It can also swim and gnaw. The sow usually delivers a single pup at a time, but delivering two pups has also been recorded. The gestation period is about 90 to 112 days. Their maximum longevity is about 27 years.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Mammalia
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